If you’re struggling with cystic acne, you’re not alone. This severe form of acne can be tough to treat, but there is hope. Dermatologists have shared their top tips on how to get rid of cystic acne once and for all.
Cystic acne can be painful and persistent, and it often appears as large, red, and inflamed bumps beneath the skin’s surface. It’s caused by inflammation and infection of the hair follicle, and can be triggered by hormonal changes, genetics, and other factors.
In this article, we’ll explore what cystic acne is, how to identify it, and why it’s so hard to treat. We’ll also cover the best topical treatments and oral medications recommended by dermatologists, as well as lifestyle changes that can improve your skin. Additionally, we’ll discuss the role of stress in cystic acne and alternative treatments that you can try. Finally, we’ll provide tips on how to prevent future cystic acne breakouts and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this frustrating condition.
With the help of dermatologists and some lifestyle changes, you can learn how to get rid of cystic acne once and for all.
What is Cystic Acne?
Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog hair follicles, leading to inflammation. Unlike other forms of acne, cystic acne can be painful and deeper below the surface of the skin. It is often characterized by large, painful bumps or cysts that can last for weeks or even months.
Cystic acne is most commonly found on the face, but it can also appear on the chest, back, neck, and shoulders. It can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults.
What Causes Cystic Acne?
The exact cause of cystic acne is not known, but there are several factors that can contribute to its development. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menstrual cycles, can increase the production of oil in the skin and lead to the formation of cystic acne. Genetics can also play a role, as can certain medications, such as steroids and lithium.
Additionally, factors such as stress, a poor diet, and certain skincare products can exacerbate cystic acne and make it harder to manage.
How is Cystic Acne Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have cystic acne, it’s important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis. A dermatologist will examine your skin and ask about your medical history to determine if you have cystic acne. In some cases, they may also perform a skin biopsy to rule out other conditions.
Common symptoms of cystic acne include large, painful bumps or cysts that are filled with pus, redness and inflammation, and skin that feels tender to the touch. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent scarring and other complications.
How to Identify Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is not your typical pimples or blackheads; it is a severe form of acne that affects the skin deeply. Identifying cystic acne requires some knowledge of its symptoms. Here are some of the signs to watch out for:
|Bumps||Cystic acne is characterized by large, red, and painful bumps on the skin|
|Inflammation||The affected area may be swollen and tender to the touch due to the inflammation caused by the acne|
|Scarring||Due to its deep-seated nature, cystic acne can sometimes lead to permanent scarring if not treated promptly|
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek professional advice from a dermatologist. A dermatologist can diagnose cystic acne and provide you with personalized treatment options.
Why Cystic Acne is Hard to Treat
Cystic acne can be challenging to treat because of the unique way it develops. Unlike other types of acne, cystic acne occurs deep within the skin, causing inflammation and infection around the hair follicles. This inflammation creates a bump under the skin, which can be painful and difficult to treat.
Additionally, cystic acne lesions are often larger than other types of acne, making them more challenging to manage. The size and depth of the cystic acne lesion mean that topical treatments may not be sufficient to penetrate deep enough to treat the infection and inflammation thoroughly.
Why Cystic Acne is Hard to Treat?
Another reason why cystic acne is hard to treat is that it can be a stubborn condition that is resistant to many forms of treatment. Even if you successfully treat a cystic acne lesion, new ones can appear because of hormonal imbalances, genetics, and other factors.
Lastly, cystic acne can be challenging to deal with because of the emotional toll it can take on those who suffer from it. Cystic acne can be painful, unsightly, and difficult to cover up with makeup, which can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and low self-esteem.
However, with persistence and the right treatment plan, individuals with cystic acne can find relief and regain their confidence.
“Cystic acne can be challenging to treat because of the unique way it develops. Unlike other types of acne, cystic acne occurs deep within the skin, causing inflammation and infection around the hair follicles.”
Topical Treatments for Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is a severe type of acne that requires special treatment. Topical treatments are popular among dermatologists to manage cystic acne breakouts. These skincare products contain active ingredients that penetrate the skin layers to unclog pores, remove excess oil, and fight inflammation. Here are some effective topical treatments for cystic acne.
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient found in over-the-counter acne treatments. It works by killing bacteria on the skin surface and reducing inflammation. Dermatologists recommend using benzoyl peroxide on cystic acne breakouts because of its immediate effects. It can also prevent future breakouts from occurring. However, it can cause dryness, irritation, or redness on sensitive skin. Make sure to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it to prevent adverse reactions.
2. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is another popular ingredient in cystic acne treatments. It can penetrate deep into the skin pores to remove excess oil and dead skin cells that cause acne. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the size and redness of cystic acne. Salicylic acid is available in different concentrations, from 0.5% to 5%. Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it to avoid skin irritation or dryness.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that can unclog pores and exfoliate dead skin cells. They can also reduce inflammation and promote collagen production, making the skin smoother and clearer. Retinoids can also prevent future breakouts from occurring. However, they can cause dryness, peeling, or redness on sensitive skin. Dermatologists recommend using retinoids at nighttime and applying sunscreen during the day.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural remedy for acne that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can kill bacteria on the skin surface and reduce inflammation and redness. It can also unclog pores and remove impurities that cause acne. Tea tree oil is available in different concentrations, from 5% to 10%. However, it can cause dryness, irritation, or allergic reactions on sensitive skin.
These are some of the most effective topical treatments for cystic acne. However, it is essential to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider before using any skincare product, especially if you have sensitive skin, allergies, or medical conditions. They can help you choose the right product, dosage, and frequency and monitor your progress.
Oral Medications for Cystic Acne
In severe cases of cystic acne, dermatologists may prescribe oral medications. These medications can help reduce inflammation, control bacterial growth, and prevent new breakouts. It’s essential to follow your dermatologist’s dosage instructions and take the medication as directed to avoid potential side effects.
One popular oral medication for cystic acne is isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane. This medication is usually used for severe nodular acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments. Isotretinoin is highly effective, but it can have some serious side effects, such as dryness of the eyes, mouth, and skin, as well as birth defects if taken during pregnancy. It’s crucial to use contraception while taking isotretinoin and to avoid becoming pregnant for at least one month after stopping the medication.
Other oral medications for cystic acne include antibiotics, which can help control bacterial growth on the skin. However, overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, so dermatologists usually prescribe them for short periods.
If you’re considering oral medications for cystic acne, talk to your dermatologist about the potential benefits and side effects. They can help you determine which medication is best for your case.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Cystic Acne
In addition to topical and oral treatments, making lifestyle changes can also significantly improve cystic acne.
One of the most important lifestyle changes to make is to maintain a healthy diet. This means reducing your intake of processed foods, sugar, and dairy products, which have all been linked to acne. Instead, focus on eating a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, which can help reduce inflammation in the skin.
Another key factor in reducing cystic acne is maintaining good hygiene. Make sure to wash your face daily with a gentle cleanser, and avoid touching your face with dirty hands. Additionally, try to change your pillowcases and towels regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and oil.
Exercise can also help reduce acne, as it increases blood flow and oxygenation to the skin, helping to clear out pores and reduce inflammation. However, it’s important to wash your face and body after exercising to remove sweat and oil that can contribute to acne.
Finally, managing stress can also play a role in reducing cystic acne. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce more hormones like cortisol, which can increase oil production in the skin and worsen acne. Try to incorporate stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing into your daily routine to help manage stress levels.
The Role of Stress in Cystic Acne
Stress is a common factor that contributes to many health issues, including cystic acne. Research has shown that high levels of stress can increase the production of hormones such as cortisol, which can trigger inflammation and oil production in the skin. This can exacerbate existing cystic acne and lead to new breakouts.
In addition to physical effects, stress can also impact mental health and lead to behaviors such as picking at the skin, which can worsen cystic acne. It is important to manage stress levels through various practices such as exercise, meditation, therapy, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring joy.
Dermatologists also recommend incorporating stress management techniques into your skincare routine. This can include using calming and soothing skincare products that contain ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, or lavender.
While it may be challenging to completely eliminate stress from your life, taking steps to manage it can greatly improve cystic acne symptoms and overall well-being.
Alternative Treatments for Cystic Acne
While dermatologist-prescribed topical and oral medications are effective in treating cystic acne, some people prefer to use natural remedies or alternative treatments. Keep in mind that these remedies may not work for everyone, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatment.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a popular essential oil that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied topically to the affected area using a cotton swab. However, as tea tree oil can be irritating to the skin, it should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil before application.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has acidic properties that can help exfoliate the skin and reduce inflammation. It can be diluted with water and applied to the skin using a cotton ball. However, it’s important to note that undiluted apple cider vinegar can damage the skin.
Zinc supplements have been found to help reduce inflammation and improve acne symptoms, including cystic acne. Zinc can be found in foods such as beef, spinach, and pumpkin seeds, but it may also be taken in supplement form. It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.
Manuka honey has antibacterial properties and can be applied topically to the skin. It can also be taken orally to help with overall skin health. However, it’s important to use medical-grade manuka honey for maximum effectiveness.
“It’s important to remember that natural remedies and alternative treatments may not work for everyone, and consulting with a healthcare professional is always recommended.”
Preventing Future Cystic Acne Breakouts
Preventing future cystic acne breakouts is just as important as treating the current ones. By following a few simple steps, you can reduce your chances of experiencing another breakout.
1. Cleanse your skin regularly
Make sure to clean your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your skin type. This will remove excess oil and dirt from your skin, which can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Avoid using harsh scrubs or hot water, as this can irritate your skin.
2. Keep your hands off your face
Avoid touching your face as much as possible, as this can transfer bacteria and oil from your hands to your skin. Also, do not pop or squeeze cystic acne as this can lead to scarring and further inflammation.
3. Choose the right skincare products
When selecting skincare products, look for items that are labeled non-comedogenic or oil-free. These products are less likely to clog your pores and cause breakouts. Avoid using heavy makeup or oily moisturizers that can worsen acne.
4. Maintain a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can help improve your skin’s overall health. Focus on eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Avoid consuming excessive sugar and greasy or fried foods, which can contribute to acne.
5. Manage stress levels
Stress can trigger acne breakouts, so it is important to manage stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. Try to get enough restful sleep and set aside time for relaxation and self-care.
6. Consult a dermatologist for long-term care
If you have frequent or severe cystic acne breakouts, it is important to consult a dermatologist for long-term care. A dermatologist can help you develop a daily skincare routine, prescribe medications or recommend other treatments such as chemical peels or laser therapy to prevent future breakouts.
FAQ About Cystic Acne
Here are some common questions people have about cystic acne:
Q: What causes cystic acne?
A: Cystic acne is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, hormones, and bacteria. Hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy can also trigger cystic acne.
Q: Is cystic acne contagious?
A: No, cystic acne is not contagious. It is a skin condition that is caused by internal factors, not external ones.
Q: Can cystic acne be cured?
A: While there is no cure for cystic acne, it can be effectively treated with a combination of topical and oral medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative treatments.
Q: How long does it take to see results from cystic acne treatment?
A: It can take several weeks to several months to see results from cystic acne treatment. It is important to be patient and consistent with your treatment plan.
Q: Can diet affect cystic acne?
A: Yes, diet can play a role in cystic acne. Foods that are high in sugar and dairy products can trigger acne. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help improve cystic acne.
Q: Can stress cause cystic acne?
A: Yes, stress can trigger cystic acne. When you are stressed, your body produces more oil, which can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Practicing stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation can help improve cystic acne.
Q: Can natural remedies help treat cystic acne?
A: Yes, there are several natural remedies that can help improve cystic acne, including tea tree oil, aloe vera, and green tea. However, it is important to talk to your dermatologist before trying any new treatments.